A Mother’s Wishes for Health
Honestly, when Kevin and I made the decision to have children I had no idea the amount of work and energy it takes to be a Mom. I had siblings growing up, but I never had the responsibility of taking care of my younger sister. Before I had children, my only experience with childcare was one babysitting job and I really disliked it! So, that did not last long. Ok, another truth… I was so nervous when the boys arrived, I used the excuse that I had just had a c-section so I was unable to change their diapers for about three days. Needless to say, my learning curve was pretty steep.
Once they came home, I knew they were my responsibility and I immersed myself in their care. The girls had a different start as you heard about in many previous posts. Their first days were in the hospital. I knew what to do with the girls and nutritionally I had a plan for myself. I made a lot of mistakes the first time around both with the boys and myself so I had a lot of excellent new strategies to try.
Now, there are many other hugely important facets of health that cannot be overlooked. Movement is one. You can have the absolute perfect diet, sleep 9 hours a day, and have great relationships… but if you don’t move, your health will suffer. The opposite is true too… If you move a lot, in fact, you could even be “super fit” with amazing symmetry and function! If your diet is nothing but poor quality energy bars, Gatorade and nutrient-poor food, your health will suffer.
This again returns me to my mission as a mother. How do I connect the dots with the kids? I have this amazing opportunity, a window of time to influence four little lives. I want to teach them what I know, show them how I know to do it, and give them the tools to do it for themselves!
How do we connect them to the importance of ingredients? We have an excellent garden and use what we grow as ingredients everyday! I take the kids shopping with me so they can see all of the options. We go to the farmer’s market to look at all of the produce and talk to the farmers. I am amazed at what they have absorbed in their short lives. They know how to pick a melon, what ingredients we need for recipes and how to identify herbs. The first time I asked William to go pick me some sage, I was not sure what he would come back with. But, sure enough… he came right in the house with enough sage to last me a week! Pretty cool!
How do we help them feel and appreciate movement? This is one that I am still working on! Kids have no problem moving and playing! That part is easy. The part I am working on is focused play or organized movement. That is a work in progress…until we get it down, we are doing lots of “obstacle courses.
How do we help them understand it takes effort, every day to prepare food for the family? This part is pretty easy. The kids know that I plan our family meals. They know that we have to prepare the ingredients and combine them in a certain way to make a meal. They know that we don’t throw food out because it takes time to prepare it and we can use their leftovers to make another meal. This, I think, is a super important lesson! It is amazing how much food waste there is in the world. And, man, what a shame!
How can we create opportunities every day to model good habits? Whenever I can, I want to be there physically playing with the kids. That was the most difficult thing recovering from my second twin pregnancy with the girls. It sidelined me for a little while with the boys. I use to “workout” or train for events for myself. Now, my training is wholly for my function as a mom! Every day I work to move better and create that strong resilience in myself. I know they are watching!
How can I integrate all of these habits and teach these four littles how to lead healthy lives forever? All of these lessons are just inputs. It’s up to the kids to make their choices one day. I know that if they are anything like me, they will carve their own path and probably deviate pretty far from what I hope they will choose. But, you know what, I bet they will remember some of what I am showing them. And, I also know that they will know the importance of real, whole, nutrient-dense food. They will know that we move our bodies every day! Time will tell the rest!